“AS A 12-YEAR-OLD GUITARIST IN 1971,” RECALLS SETTLE,
“I found the object of my obsession at a music store named Pontiac
Music & Sound in Pontiac, Michigan: a reverse Gibson
Firebird. I’d seen photos of Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter, and
Bob Seger playing these beautiful instruments, and I was thrilled
to have finally located one.
“My parents and the store clerk patiently listened as I played
the mint ’64 Firebird III through a blackface Fender Super Reverb.
The Firebird tone was unique. It was more brash than a Les
Paul and similar to a Strat but with more sustain. The store was
"Before making my decision, I tried out two of the other ‘used’
instruments that were present: a ’58 Les Paul goldtop with PAF
humbuckers, and a ’59 flame-top Les Paul. Both Les Pauls were
in mint condition, with hang tags and an extra set of Gibson strings
in the case. As if that weren’t enough, all of this greatness was
available for a mere $250 each—50 bucks less than the Firebird!
“‘I think those Les Pauls sound better than that Firebird,’
my father offered. But alas, I chose the Firebird, which I still
own, although it’s no longer in mint condition after years of
gigging. I’ll always regret not having the foresight—or the capital—
to buy those Les Pauls.”
Acoustic wizard Tommy Emmanuel was presented with Guitar Player’s Legend Award at Muriel Anderson’s All-Star Guitar Night at Winter NAMM
2009. Past inductees include Les Paul, Duane Eddy, Larry Carlton, and Dick Dale.
“The Guitar Player editors listen to thousands of amazing players each month,” said GP Editor in Chief Michael Molenda to the standing-room only
crowd at the event (which also included GP Guitar Superstar winner Vicki Genfan, GP columnist Will Ray, Seymour Duncan, and Pete Anderon). “But
when you hear a new Tommy Emmanuel release blasting out of our cubicles, every editor has one of those ‘what the f**k moments.’ He’s so good and
so inspiring that you just want to stop what you’re doing and practice like a demon.” To see the ASGN 2009 award ceremony, click to truefire.com/tftv.
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